The Displaced Nation

A home for international creatives

RANDOM NOMAD: Turner Jansen, American Canine in Holland

Date & place of birth: November 2004, probably West Virginia*
Countries, states, cities lived in: West Virginia (Berkeley): 2004-05; Maryland (Knoxville): 2005-08; The Netherlands (Utrecht): 2008-11; (Amersfoort): 2011 – present.
Canine parentage: Boxer, Chinese Shar-Pei, Great Pyrenees, Retriever, Italian Spinone, English Springer Spaniel…any other guesses?!
Human parentage: Tiffany & Bram Jansen
Cyberspace coordinates: Clogs and Tulips | An American in Holland and @clogsandtulips (mother’s blog** and Twitter handle) ; @turnerinNL (my Twitter handle)
*I was dumped at a shelter when I was only a baby.
**She even has a post about me: “Expat’s Best Friend”

Tell us, how did you get the name Turner?
My brother and I were dropped off at the shelter in West Virginia together, and our two-legged caretakers named us Turner and Hooch after the Tom Hanks movie by the same name (for those who don’t know it, it’s a comedy!). Hooch was adopted before I was, so my mother, Tiffany, never got to meet him. She thought about changing my name, but in the end she decided that Turner was a unique name for a dog — and that it fit me somehow. /(^.^)\

What made you leave your homeland in the first place?
My dad is from the Netherlands, so after my parents got married, Mommy and I moved to be with him.

Describe for us the moment when you felt most displaced — when you asked yourself the question: what’s a nice dog like me doing in a place like this?
The first time I walked around the city of Utrecht. I came from the countryside in the US, and wasn’t used to all the people and cars. And there are so many bicycles here — bikes are scary!

Describe for us the moment when you felt least displaced — when you felt more at home in an adopted homeland than you had in the land of your birth.
We recently moved from an apartment in busy Utrecht to a house in quiet Amersfoort — with a backyard! Our house is a nice size — not too big, not too small. I love when we have friends or family over to visit, and I can show them my backyard and all my toys. Amersfoort is all the things I loved about living in Maryland plus all the things I loved about living in Utrecht.

You may bring one curiosity you’ve collected from each of your adopted countries into the Displaced Nation. What’s in your suitcase?
I have a squeaky toy that looks like the Dutch birthday cake tompouce that I love to play with. I would also bring my doggie musical chairs trophies from the US. They don’t have games like that for dogs here and I am very proud of the fact that I have so many of them!

The Displaced Nation will fix you a welcome meal. What would you like us to serve you?
I LOVE bread (croissants, krentenbollen, bagels, whole wheat bread) and French and Dutch cheeses. Here in the Netherlands, dishes where you boil and mash together vegetables with potatoes are very popular and I love them! The only one I can’t have is zuurkool stamppot (sauerkraut-and-potato mash with bacon) because sauerkraut makes dogs very very sick (my parents and I found that out the hard way!).

Have you learned any commands in other languages since going abroad, and if so can you give us an example?
Daddy talks to me in Dutch only if I’m being bad, so I don’t really care for the language. I have learned how to “shake” on both the English and Dutch commands of “paw” and “poot.” But for some reason, I only sit when given the command in English, even though the Dutch zit sounds almost the same. Mommy says I have a disease called Selective Hearing.

Have you made any new friends with canines or other creatures in your adopted land?
I don’t really play much with other dogs. I prefer being with humans and cats. I have seen my first hedgehogs since coming here and I love them! I just wish they weren’t so afraid of me. They always curl up so I can’t talk to them.

I see you’re already kitted out for the holidays. Where will you be celebrating?
I’m getting a (human) little sister in December, so we’re staying at home in the Netherlands.

That’s very exciting! I presume you’re looking forward to spending the holidays in your new home?
I love when friends and family come to visit, and I love getting presents and treats. We just now celebrated Sinterklaas, and I feasted on those special little ginger/spice cookies called pepernoten. My Dutch grandparents always get me my own bag! I also like seeing my Christmas stocking hung up next to Mommy’s and Daddy’s and listening to Christmas carols once Sinterklaas is over. And on Christmas morning, Mommy always makes waffles and even gives me a small waffle or two of my own mixed with milk and syrup! <:@)

Readers — yay or nay for letting Turner into The Displaced Nation? Tell us your reasons. (Note: It’s fine to vote “nay” as long as you couch your reasoning in terms we all — including Turner and his parents — find amusing.)

img: Turner Jansen under the table at Café Olivier Utrecht — taken in September 2009 but jazzed up for this post. (Turner’s comment: “Not sure I like this hat. Woof!”)

STAY TUNED for tomorrow’s installment from our displaced fictional heroine, Libby, who is still recovering from the shock of her mother-in-law’s body piercing. (What, not keeping up with Libby? Read the first three episodes of her expat adventures.)

If you enjoyed this post, we invite you to register for The Displaced Dispatch, a round up of weekly posts from The Displaced Nation, with seasonal recipes, book giveaways and other extras. Register for The Displaced Dispatch by clicking here!

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11 responses to “RANDOM NOMAD: Turner Jansen, American Canine in Holland

  1. awindram December 7, 2011 at 1:20 pm

    This weekend I bought a reindeer outfit for my cat, now I’m reading an interview with an expat dog. When did I become this person?

  2. Libby Patrick December 7, 2011 at 4:24 pm

    Turner, how do you fancy coming to live in Woodhaven for a while? You could do a penpal swap with Fergus. And then I could deny all knowledge of Fergus when it was time for you to go home.

  3. linda@adventuresinexpatland.com December 7, 2011 at 4:46 pm

    Wel natuurlijk ja! Who could say no when he’s got such a fantastic last name (I just spell it with an extra s). Anyone who finds a home that represents the best of his Mom & Dad’s birth countries is a deserving inhabitant of Displaced Nation.

    • ML Awanohara December 7, 2011 at 6:20 pm

      @Linda
      I agree that Turner sounds better adjusted to the expat life than many of us humans. Maybe it’s his mixed breed (Chinese, English, Spanish, French, Italian, American) background that has made him so adaptable to the Dutch way of life? Apart from the sauerkraut that is…

  4. awindram December 7, 2011 at 7:57 pm

    Yes, it’s a yay. Though if Turner was named Jerry Lewis after the dog from K-9, the Jim Belushi rip-off of Turner and Hooch, then it might be a nay, but Turner seems to have superior taste in cheesy 80s movements and I respect him for that. I bet he’d be a fun companion to watch Ferris Bueller with.

  5. Carole December 9, 2011 at 5:15 am

    Yay of course! Expat dogs rule the world (so says my own nomadic canine)

  6. Kristin Bair O'Keeffe December 9, 2011 at 7:31 am

    Oh, I just adore this post. Dogs just make me happy. And a happy expat dog makes me even happier. Yay for Turner!

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